ASUS mixes a smartphone with a tablet: meet the Padfone

It’s a pad, it’s a phone, no wait, it’s a Padfone? Announced at the Computex show in Taipei, this new ‘converged device’ is what ASUS has in mind for tablet and phone loving consumers.

The idea is that many people have use for both a phone and a tablet, so why not make them one device? With the ASUS Padfone, you simply use the fully featured smartphone as normal, but when you want the big-screen experience, plug it into the docking port behind a flap in the back of the Pad.

The result is that you can run all of your apps on the Pad’s 10.1 inch touchscreen, and the software automatically formats everything to suit the larger display. The Pad component also adds more battery life, extra I/O ports and larger speakers.

And when you want to go mobile again, just pull the phone out and the OS transitions back to the 4.3 inch smartphone view.

While the final hardware details and form factor sizes are likely to change before the Padfone launches around Christmas, the phone part looks to have all of the things you’d expect in a smartphone, including a front and rear facing camera (the rear one has a 5 megapixel sensor and auto-focus lens), along with mini HDMI and USB connectors, which are used to dock with the Pad.

Rumours suggest that when the Padfone is launched it will come with Google’s new Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, which is designed to merge both smartphone and tablet features into one platform.

The phone portion of the Asus Padfone has a look very similar to that of the tablet, but is obviously a lot smaller.